Anyone who regularly follows my picks knows that I am a big believer in YTD scoring differential being a reliable predictor of future outcomes. Yesterday I took a look at three NFL teams that aren’t as good as their record says they are.
Now it’s time to take a look at two teams that are better than you might realize.
1. Tampa Bay (5-2, +80 pt differential) - The Buccaneers were likely to improve this year for a variety of reasons. But, despite two losses, they are even better than I’d thought. Coming off a 45-20 win over Las Vegas last week, the Bucs now own the league’s top point differential. Tom Brady and the offense commands the attention, but the defense is arguably the best in the NFL. You can’t run on them. They are allowing just 66 rush yards per game! Looking at the two losses, one was in Week 1 whey they outgained the Saints in New Orleans. The other was a Thursday night road game in Chicago where they outgained the Bears substantially on a per play basis, yet lost 20-19 on a last second field goal. Tampa Bay projects to be favored in almost every game from here on out. They have a shot at being the NFC’s top seed.
2. Miami (3-3, +47 point differential) - This is the real surprise of the list. The Dolphins are the only team in the AFC East with a positive point differential. All three wins have been by at least 18 points. The three losses were to New England, Buffalo and Seattle, two of those being one-score games. I believe this team has a legit shot at winning the division this season. Head coach Brian Flores has obviously “rolled the dice” by making the change at QB to Tua Tagovailoa, but he did so on a bye week and Tua obviously has more upside than veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team’s point differential is actually the 7th best in football right now. We shall see if that holds up. This week, the Fins are a dog at home vs. the Rams. Next week they’ll be a dog in Arizona. That means they will have been the underdog in seven of their first eight games. The second half schedule looks to be easier and the AFC East could be decided in Week 17 at Buffalo.